Rene Guenon on the End

Whether the world will go with a bang or with a whimper is the great question of modernity. T.S. Eliot’s famous line on “broken jaw of our lost kingdoms” and the world as “a valley of dying stars” is a pretty close poetic image of what Rene Guenon calls deviation. The existence of Tradition implies that there will be a civilization which turns away from it, necessarily deviating to a point when it begins to develop Counter-Tradition, i.e. becomes consciously opposed to its Origin. This process is pushed forward by counter-initiation, by which Guenon means the activity of producing “qualities” for the exercise of mock spirituality.

Philosopher Rene Guenon as a young man.

Philosopher Rene Guenon as a young man.

The intrinsic need of the human soul to be illuminated by Spirit gets transformed into a thirst for spiritual experience, and whoever can provide it is welcomed by the masses. This is an instance of what Guenon calls the counterfeit – an entity bearing the closest possible resemblance to something real but inverting its sense and purpose, i.e. its essence, while retaining similar appearance. So, for instance, we witness the practice of experimenting with religions – some people change confessions as socks or, if the money is involved, as jobs – or striving to attain religious experience. This can only be defined as a manifestation of the counterfeit, since the experimental method does not proceed from principle and is essentially meant to master something – to gain control over it through understanding. Religion, however, expresses that which is ultimately higher and cannot be conceived in the terms of the lower, as should be the case in an experiment, because experimentation is a method of dealing with matter in a controlled environment for the purpose of control. There is no way to control Spirit, and therefore there’s no way to experience it within the modernist framework.

The counterfeit is a pseudo-essence, a parasite festering on a dead body of what was once a living tradition. One of its curious aspects is the tendency to eradicate past existence and keep the consciousness of its recipients in the present. In this regard it is quite similar to the simulacrum, only it presupposes a deliberating will as its creator. Namely counterfeits exist in order to bring about Counter-Tradition, i.e. pseudo-spirit and pseudo-quality to the world. They are, therefore, fruits of an inverted, but quite deliberate, spiritual endeavor to mimic a reawakening of religion and metaphysics. How this false dawn would look is something Guenon declines to describe because he considers it imperative only to describe what will inevitably ensue afterwards. When subversion reaches the lowest point, releasing, quite literally, hell on earth, things immediately have nowhere else to go but upwards. Once the lie is absolutely realized, the ground falls out from under it – it can exist only as a parasite on the body of truth.

The end of the world is simply a complete revelation of lie qua lie, and therefore nothing else but a revelation of truth. Once absolute power is reached it turns against itself, often in the form of unintentional parody and satire at its own expense. So we can safely conjecture that the end of the world will be very much like a final joke the Devil plays on himself, a mockery of the professional mocker. One can notice this in the crucial anti-Traditional move of our times: affirmation of homosexual “marriages.” As opposition to legalization of this practice – one intended to bring down fundamental discernment of sexes and open the flood gates for eradicating any semblance of human image handed down by Tradition – is forfeit, resisters are nevertheless left with infinite opportunities to ridicule the consequences of legalization of these pseudo-nuptials. And the ridicule is picking up steam, especially unintentional self-ridicule on behalf of those promoting this equally funny and grotesque piece of social engineering.

Once the luminaries of progress unmask themselves, they can’t help but show what they truly are: a tedious bunch with sinister intent, naked for everyone to see, including themselves. The exemplary counterfeit called “political correctness,” serving as a tool for deluding people into believing they are ‘humane’ and ‘just’ through approval of execrable practices, displays this unmistakable sign of its “pseudo” nature – it is essentially a parody of morality, and once it succeeds in abolishing its object, it has nothing else to parody but itself.

Viktor Vasnetsov's Apocalpyse.

Viktor Vasnetsov’s Apocalpyse.

But these are only some observations on the present state of affairs. The real horror is probably still on its way, and we can safely conjecture only that it will necessary be at the same time horrible and hilarious.

Everybody knows the world is going to end, yet rarely does anyone know what the world is. Rene Guenon’s explanation as to why this must to come to pass is entirely consequent: the world as we know it is a lie within a lie. The only possible end imaginable is therefore the end of the lie: dissolution of its counterfeits and the reestablishment of order in a way that we have no positive means to imagine. Guenon expressed it through Hindu schema of cyclic Yugas or “Ages” of the world, which express the true quality of time, i.e. time as a being with innate telos. As we are living out the end of the Kali Yuga or Dark age, its necessary end must be the shattering of darkness at the darkest hour, a rooster’s crowing in the blackness just before the dawn. Taking all the contemporary madness into consideration, we can at least affirm one sure thing about how it’s going to sound like: one hell of a laugh.

So, if we are living out the great End, let’s give it a defiant laugh. For as civilization accelerates into freefall and panic – generally masked as euphoria, just as the freefall is masked as progress –one cannot help but notice how progressively surreal and unavoidably funny it all becomes. So, why not mock the great mockery until it dissolves into nothing from which it came? Come to think of it, when all is said and done, there is not much else left to do besides repentance. The world won’t be redeemed by laughing at its tail-spinning counterfeit, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Anyways, if Guenon is to be believed, there really won’t be much choice. When the whole cosmos realizes that Antichrist has no clothes … well, that shall be laughter borne from the heavens.

“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

Matthew 28:20

Read all Branko Malic’s work at Kali Tribune.